Bromsgrove's council tax precept to go up by 1.9 per cent

By Tristan Harris Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 08/02 10:56

BROMSGROVE District Council's cabinet is recommending a 1.9 per cent increase on the authority's council tax precept for the forthcoming financial year.

The rate was agreed at the cabinet meeting last night (Wednesday) and will go before the full council on February 20.

The current predicted financial position shown in Wednesday's agenda showed the council would be facing a £70,000 deficit for 2013/14.

And council leader Coun Roger Hollingworth said the rise, which would equate to an annual increase of around £4 for a band D home, would raise sufficient funds to balance the books and prevent the authority from having to cut frontline services.

But he warned there would be other financial pressures that would have to be paid for out of the council's working balances.

"I don't like doing it, but these things have to be paid for," he added.

Of those, £14,000 will go towards paying for an up-to-date housing assessment to evaluate the accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers. The up-to-date assessment is a statutory requirement for the council and is also needed to comply with planning and enforcement rules.

A council spokesperson said: "We therefore intend to carry out an updated assessment soon, together with other nearby authorities, which will incur some costs."

A further £20,000 may also be needed to support the Government's Green Deal, which was launched in January.

The spokesperson added, because the scheme was in its infancy, the details were unclear, but the authority was planning ahead for potential costs later in the financial year.

Providing £12,000 for unparished areas in the district was agreed at a previous full council meeting and the new bridge at the bus station will cost £8,000.

Labour leader Coun Peter McDonald said if rising the council tax precept by 1.9 per cent was what had to be done to protect frontline services then it had to be done.

But he said the council promised sharing services with Redditch would balance the books and that had clearly not happened.

He called for a reduction in the salaries of the chief executive and other high-paid officers.

"That would save tens of thousands of pounds which could be spent on services.

"It's scanalous to pay someone £125,000-a-year when we can't get bus shelters or a dog warden," he added.

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